Fasting is a term that we’ve been hearing a lot recently, but is not new. We know about many cultures and religions that practice fasting as part of their preparation for certain celebrations. Firstly, what is it about? Fasting means giving up food (basically) for a period of time in order to relieve your body from the hard work of digestion and help it detox. From a holistic perspective, where body, mind and soul are connected, fasting does not impact solely our body, it has profound implications on our spirit and mind as well. Depriving your body from one of the basic needs as food is an act of faith, discipline and self-control. When you are fasting, you are not thinking about feeding your body, instead, your energy is focused on contemplation and inner work.
I am writing about fasting from my experience and my research on the topic. I must say that physically, I’ve been notice amazing improvements on my health, starting with less inflammation due to hormonal changes, my mind is clearer and I really feel great, I feel that I can recover my energy even faster than before without changing my sleeping habits and activities. On the spiritual side, I’ve been working along fasting, morning meditations and contemplation, feeling easier to calm my mind. Looking at how to explain to you what comtemplation is, I found:
CONTEMPLATION: has the word temple in its roots, and originally referred to the kind of thinking you do in a special set aside for observation.
This time I want to focus the post on the physical benefits of fasting, In following posts, I will be explaining different types of intermitent fasting. What Intermitent fasting is? It is an eating pattern where you have periods of eating and fasting.
- Improves function of cells, genes and hormones. When restraining from eating for a period of time, the body begins a cellular repair processes and changes in hormone levels in order to have accesible the fat stored. Insulin levels drops and facilitate fat burning. Levels of growth hormone increase, facilitating fat burning.Importar cellular process called Autophagy, a self-digestive mechanism in which cells remove damaged and malformed proteins and organelles contained in the cytoplasm for new cell formation.
- Enhances hormone function to facilitate weigh loss. Increases metabolic rate by 3.6-14%
- Reduces insuline resistance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Enhances body´s resistance to oxidative stress and can help fight inflammation
- Beneficial for the heart. Intermitent fasting helps reducing risk factors as high blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerids, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels.
- Has been shown to help prevent cancer in animal studies, and in human patients intermitent fasting reduced various side effects of chemotherapy.
- May increase the growth of new nerve cells, benefiting brain function. It also increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a deficiency of which has been related with depression.
- Some studies have shown that intermitent fasting significantly improves Alzheimer´s symptoms and may protect against neurodegenerative disease.
It is important to mention that during fasting, all liquids with no calories are acceptable, that is, plain water, tea or coffe with no-sugar added. It is important to keep the body hydrated to help it with the process of autophagy, detoxification and renovation.
From the spritual perspective, it is difficult to express how you can benefit from fasting, because is something more subjective and it has to be lived and experienced by oneself. All I can say is that it worth the effort, and i will be more than glad to hear your experience.